Saturday, December 5, 2009

Follow your heart

If we are still and listen deeply, even for a moment, we will know if we are following a path with heart.
Jack Kornfield

It is not only what we do, but also how we do it, that gives life the most meaning. For example, if you give someone a compliment in a flippant manner, it will not have the same meaning as when you say it with full attention while looking into their eyes. We need love in our lives. It is fundamental to our well-being.

To feel loved and to give love, we need to love ourselves. To be gentle and caring with others, we need to be gentle and caring with ourselves. To feel respect for others we must respect ourselves with all our faults and gifts.

When we move from our hearts there is less doubt. The path seems easier. We don't question the direction. The path seems open and each bend of the path reveals more of the journey.

Often we get too caught up in our heads. Sometimes we think we need to go in a direction that does not really feel right, but we convince ourselves to go there. But if our heart and mind are not in balance, any success we achieve will feel empty.

Being fully present brings clarity even in difficult situations. When we live in the present, the past and future are less important. The pain of yesterday is gone and the dream of the future is just an illusion. When we are present we can feel our true needs, not just our desires.

In our yoga practice our strength comes from leading with our hearts both physically and spiritually. When your chest is contracted, you are disconnected from the strongest muscles of the back. Metaphorically you are protecting your heart because your thoughts are fearful or lacking awareness. Opening your shoulders and lifting your chest creates more opportunity to breathe fully. The breath brings energy and life to your poses. When we express our poses with an open heart, our whole practice takes on a new meaning.

Following our hearts is not always easy. There are many distractions along the way. People may try to convince us to follow their agenda. The path with a heart is not without challenges. But living life fully and accepting these challenges for the lessons they give ultimately leads to a deep inner peace that allows us to connect with others in a rich and meaningful way.

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